Mental Illness and Me: Always Acting #MentalIllnessAndMe | #withcaptions @paulidin

Content Warning: mention of depression, self-harm,
and suicide It’s one of those videos. [music] Hi, PaulTalkers and other viewers! I’m Paul and this is where PaulTalks. At one point in high school, I was called
into the guidance counselor’s office because the girl I was heartbroken over had told them
she was concerned I might hurt myself. Since just around that same time, I had attempted
to kill myself via two different methods (one dangerous and one ridiculous) – it was a valid
concern. I was in my teens and wanted to end my life
because the girl who I thought was perfect for me had no interest in me beyond as a friend. That was not a reasonable reaction for me
to have. Looking back on it, I reacted that way, because
my brain chemistry was off. And during that time in high school, everybody
knew I was messed up. Like, I’d get pity looks and would literally
hear people talking about the sad state of me. I did get medication. Thank you, dad, for taking me every week to
a psychiatrist even though you didn’t understand what was going on. That probably saved my life. But a weird thing that went along with
kind of being forced to get mental health assistance is that I felt shame about it. In college, I went through similar experiences
with rejection, but this time compounded with difficulty getting through classes. For the first time in my life. At the end of my college days, I got into
an emotionally abusive relationship with someone because she was the first person who was willing
to have a relationship with me. Through it, I kept defending my decision to
stay in it by saying that it was still better than being alone. After one particularly upsetting session of
being gaslit by her, I remember falling to my knees in the middle of my hardwood floor
apartment, and banging my forehead against that floor until the pain of that overcame
my mental anguish. And then I finally broke up with her. Despite these probably obvious indicators
of mental illness, I’ve been trying to act normal for as long as I can recall. I took on the role and kept playing it because
I thought people wouldn’t want to be friends with someone who has a mental illness. Or date someone who has it. And I’ve never really stopped. Sometimes it spills out of me. I take actions that are obviously that of
someone whose brain is askew. I’ve tweeted and facebooked lots of things
that either imply or explicitly declare that I have depression. Sometimes I’ll have a very bad episode wherein
I can’t see all the choices I could make in my situation and instead I can only see a
bad one. And then that’s the choice I make. And it’s self-destructive. But before those episodes and after those
episodes and maybe during, I’ll seem fine. Maybe a little quieter, but “normal”. I’m acting! I always have depression. I’m always having or just had or am about
to have dark damned thoughts. I walked my dog earlier this week and I found
myself thinking, “I could just die now. I don’t need to keep going.” And then I smiled and said hi to a passing
neighbor. I’ve acted fine for so long, that I question
my own feelings. Am I really having fun on this beach? Or is that just what I’m supposed to feel? Do I really love this woman I’m dating? Or is that just appropriate for this scene? Am I really sad? Or am I just acting that way for attention? Is there a difference between feeling a feeling
and just acting like you are? What if you act so well, you believe it yourself? Other times, I question my depression. Do I really have it or am I just lazy? Maybe I’m just selfish? I seem to be really happy today, is this real
or am I faking it or am I faking the depression? The conclusions I’ve reached are that: my
mental illness is real. I can have lots of feelings and experiences
that don’t invalidate my depression. And I’m not a bad person for having a messed
up brain chemistry. And sometimes… when I’m acting like everything
is okay? Things get a little more okay. I want to be honest about who I am, what I
think, and what I feel. But, while I definitely have depression, just
looking like a depressed person in a story is NOT an honest portrayal of how I feel. I have more facets than that. So, while I have the strength for it, I will
keep acting like everything’s okay. And on the inside, I’ll keep trying to make
that role a reality. Just because I’m acting, doesn’t mean it’s
not me. It just means it’s not all of me, and that’s
my coping mechanism. What’s different today is I’m not ashamed
of this. I know I’m not bad for having this. Nor is anyone else. I talk about it. I admit it. I work on it. Every day. This video is one way I’m doing that. This is a therapy session for me. Was I acting in this video? I have a script! I was trying to communicate the truth of what
I’m saying. Can you act for that purpose rather than to
deceive? I think so. There’s a comments question. Was I deceiving you with my acting in this
video or showing you some truth? Is it good, bad, or something else to act
normal when you have depression? Let me know in the comments or tell me anything
that matters to you, because I want to know what matters to you. Thank you, Katie Scarlett Speaks for asking
me to be a part of your #MentalIllnessAndMe collaboration project. I’ll link to her video in the cards and the
video description. If you got something out of this video, please
share it on facebook, twitter, or tumblr. Please subscribe to my channel at
if you liked this video! And if you’d like to help me survive, join
my Patreon. Even $1 a month is great! More than that and you’ll get some rewards! Now you’ve made it to the end of my video. Thank you so much! Here at the end is where I always say: Tomorrow will be even better. Subtitles by the community

18 thoughts on “Mental Illness and Me: Always Acting #MentalIllnessAndMe | #withcaptions @paulidin

  1. SHAME IS SUCH A HUGE COMPONENT! Oh my lord! Shame when we connect it is ultimately rooted in hiding ourselves, not living authentically and fully and I'm so proud that you're doing that now. Becoming actors often turns us into paranoid people who are questioning our every move, which makes it so difficult to figure ourselves out! Thank you for sharing your story Paul this is wonderful <3

  2. oh wow man this was really brave, thankyou for opening up. its so nice to see people ive met on here also have issues and are working through them

  3. :/ unfortunately i relate a lot. But its good that you're no longer ashamed and are trying to work through it (I'm attempting to do the same.)

    ALSO I am a firm believer in the power of vlogging as a therapeutic exercise! It helps so much to talk about shit and then watch it back and be able to reflect on your thoughts and feelings.

  4. Great video Paul. <3 A question I've been wondering – Is it possible for a person to be cured of depression? Or is it a condition people live with all their lives?

  5. I've been in such a deep depressive slump lately. I made a video last week about it. I was kind of purging my feelings, which I rarely do especially not in a PUBLIC FORUM clutches pearls. But it honestly helped. This week I'm trying to act positve so my brain will believe it. It's working so far. I guess this was all to say, I get it.

  6. Thank-you for opening up and sharing this with all of us. It's really important to hear these stories. I act sometimes too, and I think it's not always a bad thing. Sometimes it can be the easiest way to cope. Sometimes I don't really want to "get into it" with people, so I act as though I'm feeling alright, and that keeps prying questions away. On the other hand, however, I do think it can also be connected to shame.

  7. Hmmm… A lot of how I've been dealing things lately follows the whole "fake it 'til you make it" philosophy. It definitely helps sometimes to act like things are okay even when they aren't, but I can see how it could also cause feelings of depersonalization and shame. You definitely can't always pretend that you are okay because you aren't dealing with your actual feelings. So… I guess my answer to you question is, yes, it's okay to act. But it's not okay to always act.
    Thank you for sharing your story!

  8. Paul this was such a beautifully honest video & I just want to thank you for sharing your experience. As someone also walking that tightrope of depression, I really related to this, especially w/ the pretending/acting vicious cycle. <3 <3 <3

  9. Thanks a million for being so open in this video. Acting goes so hand in hand with mental illness very often & I know this first hand.
    (I am still too nervous to open up much about my mental illness.)

  10. Thank you for this and for your honesty. It's amazing how many people don't understand that if you act "fine," it is acting and that it doesn't mean that you're suddenly fine or that you were lying.

    I think that sometimes it can be quite destructive for people to act fine. I have friends who feel bad because they see other people doing great while living with depression, and they're upset because they can't reach that point where they can live a normal life where everything seems fine while living with their illness.

  11. Can't speak from experience really but your conclusion seems right to me 🙂 I guess everybody puts on a role a lot of the time, as you said it can help make you feel better and also work as a shield.

  12. a great and really important video. thank you sharing your story and your truth.

    I think the question is: what's normal? and I'm not asking that to play devil's advocate here. Sincerely asking: Is Happy Normal? And if so does that make all other emotions "abnormal"? I think all emotions are normal. Some emotions are a sign that you may need help / self care / medication or whatever the situation calls for, but is any emotion abnormal? I don't think they are. There are so many things in our society that oppress us. Granted, it varies on your demographic, but let's just take men as an example (as I don't know what other demographic are applicable for you.) So often Men are told that real men don't cry and real men are always strong and assertive and it's such toxic BS, because the truth is Men are human and humans aren't always this one thing. I think we're also taught that our worth as human beings is partially determined by our ability to attract a mate and that if you can't, then you're a "loser". The whole idea of you being incomplete until you find someone – also toxic BS. I think all of these things contribute to an oppressive society, and yet while people are being oppressed, they're told to smile and this is all normal and if you're troubled by it, well that's on you. You're the one with the problem. Please know that in no way am I negating the validity of a chemical imbalance. Absolutely valid and real (as you know, but just wanted to state that just in case people were getting the wrong idea of what I was saying.) But yeah. those are my thoughts on your question lol. Hope this made sense and I didn't get too off track lol . Just the idea that what is typically considered normal in our society, or the norm, is usually this very narrow and oppressive idea that very few people can actually conform to.

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